(The following narrative is a continuation of a series of how a member was introduced to Rotary and subsequent memories. If you would like Rotary to be part of your life's story, please contact Joyce Cave at caveclan@yahoo.com.)


Gigi Carter

Member since January 2007

June 2021


When I was working for the Peninsula Family YMCA, my supervisor asked me to join the Rotary Club of Foster City. She knew previously I was a member of the Los Altos Rotary. So in 2007, I became a member of the Rotary Club of Foster City, sponsored by Dave DeSmidt.

My professional career has been working for non-profits as a Development Director. During my 10 years with the Sheriff’s Activities League, I was instrumental in developing a Board of Directors, large fund- raising events, donor and community relations, just to name a few. The funds raised supported at-risk youth throughout San Mateo County. Not only did SAL support these youth and families financially, but also provided these youth with a strong role model with our work with San Mateo County deputies. The deputies built lasting relationships with these kids, which in turn help build strong communities. I always took great pride in raising funds for those organizations – knowing the great need and help that these funds supported. I feel Rotary parallels some of those same values of helping others and giving back to our communities locally and internationally.

My first humanitarian trip with the Rotary Club of Foster City was in October 2011, where we travelled to Mazatlán. I remember the first day that we distributed wheelchairs in a large arena. It felt like 100 degrees with 90 percent humidity. I was trying to adjust to this temperature and really not feeling that great, when I looked over and saw Elaine Pitts, a former Rotarian, who at the time was probably 90 years old. She was just sitting in a chair with a damp rag around her neck trying to keep cool. Her hair was matted to her head from her sweat and I realized that I need to suck this up – gosh if Elaine can deal with this heat, then I should be able too! The second day, we were divided up and were sent out into the outskirts of Mazatlán in small groups to deliver wheel chairs. Some of the wheel chairs we delivered were replacing ones that were either very soiled or they had outgrown them. The most memorable delivery for me, was going into a home (really a shack) where the floor was dirt. A family with a young boy, about 10 years old lived in this small shack. The young boy couldn’t walk or stand on his own and thereby remained dirty from having to spend much of his life on the ground. When we arrived at his home, we literally lifted him up and put him in a wheelchair. The boy and his mother teared up. For the first time, this child had mobility and his mom could keep him clean. I knew we had changed his life and family’s life forever. The gratitude showing on their faces said it all and I began to tear up as well. This trip really was an eye opener for me. I continued my volunteer work with Mazatlán for the next few years.

Once we no longer were involved with the wheelchair project, I got involved with the playground project at the Yurok tribe reservation for a few years. This was another great experience, helping these indigenous people and learning about their needs and struggles.

Other Rotary involvement: I was Club Administrator in 2011 and 2012; FC Board member; organized 2 fundraising golf tournaments; co-chaired the holiday party, debunking; worked at the concerts in the park, festivals, co-chaired the bowl-a-thon, pancake breakfast; spaghetti feed and rib fest. During the pandemic, when our club couldn’t do many of the fundraisers or community projects, I organized a fundraiser with our fellow Rotarians that raised over $40,000 to help offset the fact that the golf tournament along with other fundraisers weren’t able to take place.

I can’t write about my involvement with Rotary without mentioning Greg Kuhl. He was a tremendous influence on me and encouraged me to go on some of these humanitarian trips. He is a very dedicated Rotarian and lives to give back to others. He became and is my life partner, soon to be my “husband” and I’m so glad that my YMCA supervisor asked me to join the Rotary Club of Foster City!